Fun_People Archive
23 Nov
PURLs - Permanent URLs

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 99 17:51:59 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: PURLs - Permanent URLs

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Forwarded-by: "Eric A. Hall" <>

After five years of internet growth we have all become aware of some of the
the problems of the "networking" aspect: i.e. the problems of creating web
sites in locations which are unstable due to job transfers, inability or
unwillingness to pay ISPs, or sheer frustration with the ever increasing
advertising demands of sites such as Geocities, Tripod, etc. One the other
side, for those of us who create links -- either in guides to the net, or
as links additional resources within documents -- the phenomenon of "link
rot" is massively discouraging.

There now exists a relatively easy -- and free -- solution.

The OCLC (a major online library organization) has established a "Permanent
URL" [PURL] project.  Essentially it amounts to the provision of free
"redirect URLs" which can be changed at will by account holders.  For those
who create web pages at stable URLs this might not be of much interest, but
for those who are at the mercy of AOL, ISPs or institutional OITs PURLs
offer a way to preserve links to your site even if you have to move it.

If you go to the PURL site,  you will find both a
description of the project, and you will be able to create a PURL which will
redirect any hit to wherever you locate the site.

The software seems to have been created for public distribution. What seems
to be likely, if the idea catches on, is that other major university
libraries will also offer the service, and so create a network of more
reliable links than exists at the moment.

In my own case, while I will now no longer link to sites at free web servers
(Geocities, AOL etc.) I will link to the PURL of such sites and encourage
site owners of unstable looking URLS to create PURLs. I encourage other
maintainers of lists of links to do the same.

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